It is common knowledge by now that the US has a student loan problem. Specifically, a subprime-sized, student loan default problem, which as was reported last year, has now surpassed a 23% default rate at "for profit" institutions. Yet as all statistical measures, this one too deals in means and medians: very boring, impersonal metrics. Where the truly stunning data emerge is when one performs a granular college by college analysis of the US higher learning system, which is precisely what the WSJ has done, breaking down some 3500 colleges and universities by annual cost, graduation rate, median amount borrowed and most importantly, student-loan default rate. In this context we feel quite bad for the students who graduate from ICPR Junior College of Puerto Rico (or rather the 52% of them who graduate), with a modest $2,250 in student loans to cover the otherwise manageable tuition of $7,158, as a mindboggling 62% of them end up defaulting on their loans!
Who else made the list of the college with the highest default rates? Here is the first page of many in a descending sort by the highest student-loan default rate:
What is quite stunning is that there are 553 colleges in the US that have a student loan default rates of over 25%.
Alternatively, if one sorts by the most expensive colleges in the US to get a sense of what opportunities some of the most respected institutions in the US offer their grads (at least based on how much is paid for the education), one gets these results:
There is much more in the full interactive list (here), although we do caution that the results may be somewhat problematic, as somehow Berea College of Kentucky, which supposedly costs negative $20,746 per year, has its students borrow $6,500 on average, with 5% of them defaulting on ther loans.